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Topics - Juana

Discordian Recipes / INFUSE UR BOOZE
April 09, 2020, 06:03:01 AM
I've picked infusing back up while on corona-cation and I gotta say, it was a good decision. I mostly have been using vodka as a base bc, once you steep the botanicals enough to pull out the rubbing alcohol aspect, it makes for a delightfully neutral and smooth base.

What I use is American, by-volume, measurements. I usually eyeball my amounts and it's easier to convert them to volume and I don't have my scale laying around atm. My apologies to those of you who used civilized measurements lol.

As a note to anytime interested in trying this themselves, using cheap vodka is fine (I have historically used Amsterdam) but you WILL want a smoother one for more delicate botanicals like flowers and herbs. Svedka is a great option imo.

Also, I'd be happy to post the recipes for the cocktails I've been making with these.

Hibiscus/Jamaica vodka: this one you can't oversteep. I usually use about three quarters of a cup to a cup of flowers for two pints/four cups of vodka. Steep for a couple hours minimum - it's fine when it's a deep, rich pink. Good with mint, rosemary, cinnamon, ginger, and lime in particular (not necessary all combined).

Rose: get thee food grade dried rose petals. Jam a cup of them in a container and pour in 4 cups of vodka. Let it steep 4-5 days. Good with vanilla, green cardamom, raspberry, and lemon.

Citron: I used a Buddha's hand bc I picked one up for a steal but any citron is fine. You'll want a big container and lots of time. It took a week to be ready and you can just leave the thing in there afterwards ime. Mint, basil, strawberry, etc etc are all bomb as fuck.

Orange flower: get a fuck ton of buds and pinch them off just above the base - make sure the green thing inside the flower doesn't make it in if you're using a somewhat older bud. Dump them in a jar and add a smooth vodka. I think I used about half a cup to a pint of vodka and let it sit for 4 days. To this, I'd probably just add a bit of sugar and soda water.

Mango: I did two infusions with this myself - one with frozen fruit bc I'm lazy and one with fresh.
I would also recommend doing the infusion I'm the fridge to prevent the fruit from oxidizing. Get 2 very ripe mangos and cut them up. Dump the fruit in two cups of vodka and let sit for probably about a week before running it through a coffee filter. Good with chamoy, orange, mint, strawberries, etc.

Jasmine green tea: three tea bags to two pints vodka. Let sit for a couple hours. Best with mint imo.

Green cardamom and lavender: DO NOT crush the pods unless you enjoy v menthol-y flavors and use food grade lavender. I think I used about 6 pods and a tablespoon of lavender to half a cup of vodka. Four days is plenty but let it sit for a bit after you filter it so it becomes more floral.

Black cardamom: I used a gold tequila here but you could probably use any kind. Black cardamom is even more menthol-y than green and I would recommend against crushing the pods. A third of a cup of whole pods to two cups vodka. Let it sit for a day and a half to two days before fishing out the pods. I'd run it through a coffee filter. The result is smoky with oak notes on top of the better part of the tequila flavor without the edge. Fig, jalapeno, and black tea are all great with it and it would probably be bitchin' in a bloody Maria.

I'm also making a bastard/compound gin but that's still processing. I'll post that recipe when it's done.
President Trump has directed U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents to conduct a mass roundup of migrant families that have received deportation orders, an operation that is likely to begin with predawn raids in major U.S. cities on Sunday, according to three U.S. officials with knowledge of the plans.

The “family op,” as it is referred to at ICE and the Department of Homeland Security, is slated to target up to 2,000 families facing deportation orders in as many as 10 U.S. cities, including Houston, Chicago, Miami, Los Angeles and other major immigration destinations, said the officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe the law enforcement operation.

Acting DHS Secretary Kevin McAleenan has been urging ICE to conduct a narrower, more-targeted operation that would seek to detain a group of about 150 families that were provided with attorneys but dropped out of the legal process and absconded.

McAleenan has warned that an indiscriminate operation to arrest migrants in their homes and at work sites risks separating children from their parents in cases where the children are at day care, summer camp or friend’s houses and not present for the raids. He also has maintained that ICE should not devote major resources to carrying out a mass interior sweep while telling lawmakers it needs emergency funding to address the crisis at the U.S. border.

Trump has been determined to go forward with the family operation after tweeting Monday that the immigration raids were coming “next week” as a first step toward his pledge for “millions” of deportations. The White House has been in direct communication with acting ICE director Mark Morgan and other ICE officials, circumventing McAleenan, three officials said.

DHS and White House officials did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

ICE has been preparing agents and equipment for the operation, which is expected to unfold across several days starting Sunday morning, the officials said. Discussions about the scope of the operation continued Friday at ICE, DHS and the White House, two officials said.

The agency is planning to use hotel rooms as temporary staging areas to detain parents and children until all the members of a family are together and ready for deportation. Officials also acknowledge that they might arrest individuals they cannot immediately deport — known as “collateral arrests” — and likely will release those people with ankle monitoring devices.

Morgan, deputy ICE director Matt Albence and others are eager to begin the operation despite the risk of a public backlash against an agency after calls to “Abolish ICE” intensified in the wake of the administration’s failed “Zero Tolerance” crackdown last year that separated more than 2,700 children from their parents.

ICE agents have limited intelligence on the locations of the families with court-ordered deportations beyond their last known addresses. But White House and ICE officials believe agents will be able to make many “collateral arrests” by vacuuming up foreigners living in the country illegally at or near the target locations.

Large-scale immigration enforcement operations are typically kept secret to avoid tipping off targets, but Trump’s tweet Monday blew the cover off the roundup in advance. That the operation was revealed publicly stunned law enforcement officials, and they believe it gave them more latitude to discuss the raids.

Some within DHS and ICE say the president appears to be using the operation for political purposes as he begins his reelection bid. Law enforcement officials worry that by publicly discussing the plan, Trump has undermined the chances of capturing those on the target list, as it likely pushed migrants with deportation orders underground.

According to DHS statistics, fewer than two percent of the families who arrived from Central America in 2017 have been deported.

“In February, we sent letters to these individuals telling them they had an order of removal,” Morgan told reporters this week. “We’re at the point right now where we have no other choice but to use our interior enforcement statutory authority to identify where these individuals are and remove them.”

Families cannot be exempted, he said: “The law must be applied fairly and equally. We’re going to do that with compassion and dignity, but we’re going to enforce the law.”

The expedited family court docket, or “rocket docket,” was developed by Trump officials late last year in an effort to deport more migrant families with the belief that a highly visible roundup operation could have a deterrent effect on others in Central America considering the journey.

The Department of Justice fast-tracked the cases of thousands of families in major cities, obtaining “in absentia” deportation orders for thousands of families that did not show up for their court hearings.

The plan to carry out those deportations has been stalled, however, over concern that it will enrage Democrats and sink whatever chances remain for achieving a bipartisan deal to close the gap in the dysfunctional U.S. asylum system.

Trump ousted former ICE acting director Ronald Vitiello and then-DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen in April when they challenged the “family op” plan, urging more deliberation.

Nielsen was replaced by McAleenan, who has made significant inroads with leading Democrats, including Sen. Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.) toward the request for $4.6 billion in supplemental aid to address the humanitarian crisis at the border. Most of that funding would pay to care for unaccompanied children who arrive at the U.S. border without a parent.


Officials say McAleenan does not oppose ICE interior enforcement against families with deportation orders, but he wants a more phased, limited approach that averts a repeat of “Zero Tolerance.”

Morgan this week urged families with deportation orders to turn themselves in to ICE, and said that operations targeting those who defy court orders would reinforce the administration’s broader deterrent efforts.

“The message has gotten out that if you bring a kid, nothing will ever happen to you,” Morgan said. “We need to make sure we’re sending the message that will not be tolerated any more.”

QuoteA proposed bill in Kansas is calling for people with HIV or AIDS to be quarantined.

Lawmakers are close to passing a new law discriminating against those who have HIV or AIDS, forcing them to be isolated or have their movements restricted.

Kansas House Bill 2183, which has passed in the Kansas Senate, will update the state's public health statute by allowing quarantine of Kansans with 'infectious diseases.'

Senator Marci Francisco attempted to restore an amendment providing an exclusion for people living with HIV/AIDS, saying the disease is not spread through casual contact and the bill could permit discrimination.

Cody Patton, Executive Director of sexual health charity Positive Directions, said: 'We live in a very conservative state and I'm afraid there are still many people, especially in rural Kansas, that have inadequate education and understanding concerning HIV/AIDS.

'My fear would not be the state uses the law as some way to move all people living with HIV/AIDS into an isolated community, but that this law could allow some county employee to use this law to justify their religious beliefs over their professional responsibilities and discriminate against people with HIV/AIDS.'

The law was originally intended to remove the need for a firefighter or a paramedic who would have to get the necessary court order to get a victim's blood for infectious diseases if they had become exposed to it.

In 1988, Kansas banned quarantining those with AIDS. If the law is passed, many are fearing health officials will begin intimidating those with HIV or AIDS with the threat they could be isolated from the general population.

Michael Weinstein, President of AIDS Healthcare Foundation, said by including HIV/AIDS in this updated law, Kansas legislators are harkening back to the 'earliest, darkest days' of the AIDS epidemic.

He said: 'At best, it is short-sighted of Kansas legislators to reject Senator Francisco's amendment. It either shows how little they understand about HIV and how it is transmitted—it is not spread through casual contact such as TB or other airborne communicable diseases—or it shows that they want the ability to quarantine people, and/or discriminate against them in other ways as they see fit.

'For the Senators, either choice shows a real lack of understanding about public health and safety—one of the most basic services that is government's role to ensure.'

Lawmakers in both the House and Senate are currently working to get this law passed, meaning it will likely be voted on and passed in the next few weeks.
Aneristic Illusions / Italian Color v. American Express
February 26, 2013, 06:45:42 PM
This Supreme Court Case Could Give Corporations Even More Power to Screw Consumers
QuoteOn Wednesday, the US Supreme Court will hear a case that has the potential to give big corporations free rein to write contracts that prevent consumers from ever holding them accountable for fraud, antitrust violations, or any other abuses of consumer and worker protection laws now on the books. It's a case that hasn't gotten much attention, but should.

The case, Italian Color v. American Express, was brought by a California Italian restaurant and a group of other small businesses that tried to sue the credit card behemoth for antitrust violations. They allege Amex used its monopoly power to force them to accept its bank-issued knock-off credit cards as a condition of taking regular, more elite American Express cards—and then charging them 30 percent higher fees for the privilege.

The small businesses claims were pretty small individually, not more than around $5,000 per shop. So, to make their case worth enough for a lawyer to take it, they banded together to file a class action on behalf of all small businesses affected by the practice. In response, Amex invoked the small print in its contract with them: a clause that not only banned the companies from suing individually but also prevented them from bringing a class action. Instead, Amex insisted the contract required each little businesses to submit to the decision of a private arbitrator paid by Amex, and individually press their claims. (Arbitration is heavily stacked in favor of the big companies, as you can read more about here and here.)

The restaurants estimated, with good evidence, that because of the market research required to press an antitrust case, arbitration would cost each of them almost $1 million to collect a possible maximum of $38,000, making it impossible to bring their claims at all. After a lot of litigation, the little guys prevailed in the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals, which found that the arbitration clause was unconscionable because it prevented the plaintiffs from having their claims heard in any forum. The court said the arbitration contract should be invalidated and that the class action should go forward in a regular courtroom. (Sonia Sotomayor sat on one of the appeals before heading to the high court and is recusing herself from the case as a result.) Now Amex is appealing and arguing that some of the high court's recent decisions in favor of big companies mean it has every right to use contracts to deprive the little guys of access to the legal system.

Consumer advocates are worried about how the court's going to decide this case. Under the leadership of Chief Justice John Roberts, the court has been especially amenable to the sorts of arguments Amex is making, and the results have been pretty damaging to consumers. The Alliance for Justice has a list here of some of the types of cases that were thrown out after the court's last pro-business decision about mandatory arbitration, which allowed companies to use arbitration clauses to trump state consumer and worker protection laws. It's not pretty.

If the court rules in favor of Amex, big companies will essentially be able to immunize themselves from any legal accountability, simply by forcing customers and employees to sign a contract to get a job or a cellphone or a bank account. Civil and consumer rights laws will stay on the books, but big companies will be able to ignore them.
I can't.
Discordian Recipes / Muffin Scrambled Eggs
February 15, 2013, 11:33:36 PM
Okay, they sound kind of weird, but they are fucking tasty, versatile, and a really quick breakfast.

Heat the oven to 375*.

Put liners in two muffin tins (you'll really only need to line about half of the second one).

Beat together eight eggs. Add one cup of vegetables of your choice (last time, I dumped salsa, some chopped sweet peppers, and roasted garlic in), 1/4c milk, 1/2tsp olive oil, 1/2tsp baking powder, 1/2c grated cheese, 1/2tsp pepper, and 1/4tsp salt. Beat it all again and ladle the mix into the muffin tin. You'll want to fill each cup up all the way.

Throw it in the oven for fifteen to twenty minutes. They will puff up like actual muffins, but don't worry, they'll deflate back down a bit.
They store well for about a week, if you make sure to let them cool all the way before you bag them up. Otherwise they get really soggy.
Aneristic Illusions / Drones to be Used in Dorner Case
February 11, 2013, 03:40:50 AM
I'm sure someone already called the fact that drones would be used on US citizens.
QuoteThey believe burly, heavily-armed Christopher Dorner is holed-up in the wilderness of California's snow-capped San Bernardino mountains 80 miles east of Los Angeles.

The burnt-out shell of his pick-up truck was discovered in the nearby resort of Big Bear, where residents and tourists have been warned to stay indoors as the search continues.

Yesterday, as a task force of 125 officers, some riding Snowcats in the rugged terrain, continued their search, it was revealed that Dorner has become the first human target for remotely-controlled airborne drones on US soil.

A senior police source said: "The thermal imaging cameras the drones use may be our only hope of finding him. On the ground, it's like looking for a needle in a haystack."

Asked directly if drones have already been deployed, Riverside Police Chief Sergio Diaz, who is jointly leading the task force, said: "We are using all the tools at our disposal."

The use of drones was later confirmed by Customs and Border Patrol spokesman Ralph DeSio
, who revealed agents have been prepared for Dorner to make a dash for the Mexican border since his rampage began.

He said: "This agency has been at the forefront of domestic use of drones by law enforcement. That's all I can say at the moment."

Dorner, who was fired from the LAPD in 2008 for lying about a fellow officer he accused of misconduct, has vowed to wreak revenge by "killing officers and their families".

In a chilling, 6,000 word "manifesto" on his Facebook page he has threatened to "bring warfare" to the LAPD and "utilise every bit of small arms training, demolition, ordinance and survival training I've been given."

Dorner, 33, who rose to the rank of lieutenant in the US Navy and served in Iraq before joining the LAPD, also ominously warned that he has shoulder-launched surface-to-air missiles to "knock out" any helicopters used to pursue him.

Last night, Brian Levin, a psychologist and professor of criminal justice at Cal State University, San Bernardino, said: "We're talking about someone who basically perceives that a tremendous injustice has been done to him that took his life and identity.

"Now he is, quite literally, at war."

Dorner's rampage began last Sunday when he shot dead Monica Quan, 27, the daughter of a former LAPD captain, and her fiancé Keith Lawrence as they sat in their car outside their home in Irvine, California.

Three days later, he stole a boat at gunpoint from an 81-year-old man at a yacht club in San Diego, near the Mexican border. He abandoned the boat when he could not get its engine to start.

The following day, last Thursday, he was involved in a shoot-out with police in Cornona, 110 miles north of San Diego. The officers, one of whom was wounded, had been guarding one of his intended online targets.

Later that day, in nearby Riverside, he killed one police officer, whose name has not yet been revealed for security reasons, and wounded a second after opening fire on their car at a set of traffic lights.

As the manhunt for him broadened across numerous police jurisdictions, police mistakenly shot and wounded a mother and daughter delivering newspapers in a pick-up truck similar to Dorner's.

That incident, in the LA suburb of Torrance, was astonishingly followed two hours later by another in the same area, when police again opened fire on a pick-up. This time, there were no casualties. Hours later, Dorner's actual pick-up truck was found on a forest road near Big Bear City.

"He had torched it," a San Bernardino police spokesman said. "We assume it may have broken down before he set fire to it."

Since then, the huge manhunt for Dorner has focused on an area where hundreds of log cabins, both owned and rented out to tourists, are dotted around the mountainside.

"There is a strong possibility he is using an empty or abandoned one as a bolt-hole," the police spokesman added last night.

LAPD police chief Charlie Beck, who has pleaded on TV with Dorner to surrender, accepted he might be "difficult to find", adding: "He knows what he is doing. We trained him and he was also a member of the armed forces. It is extremely worrisome and scary."

Police have also pleaded with local residents not to try to mount a civilian vigilante force or try to aid in the hunt for the fugitive.

However, one Big Bear resident, Dennis Pollock, said: "I did 12 years in the Marine Corps. Give me a sniper rifle, some gear, and point me in his general direction and get out of my way."

Another local said: "We know every inch of this terrain and could be a real help to the cops, but all they've told us to do is stay at home and lock all our doors."

Last night, America's National Weather Centre warned that the hunt for Dorner could be further hampered by an expected snowfall of up to 6ins in the mountains. Wind gusts of up to 50mph are also forecast, creating an extreme wind-chill factor in the already freezing conditions.

San Bernardino County Sheriff John McMahon said: "To be honest, he could be anywhere right now. Torching his own vehicle could have been a diversion to throw us off track. Anything is possible with this man."
A friend and I have already watched Highlander I and will be watching the next two, but we need more! The weirder, the better.
Woman With Runny Nose Turns Out to Be Woman With Leaking Brain Fluid
QuoteIf this doesn't prove that you should always self-diagnose yourself with the worst symptom-matching WebMD diagnosis possible, nothing will. After four months of leaking a grotesque amount of liquid from her nose, which several doctors initially blamed on severe allergies, Aundrea Aragon went to the emergency room where, after testing the fluid, she was diagnosed with a cerebrospinal fluid leak AKA her brain juices were leaking all over her face.
Quote"It wasn't even dripping, it was pouring out of my nose," said Aragon, a 35-year-old mother from Tucson, Ariz. "If I looked down or bent over, it would literally pore out of the left side of my nose. I had no control at all."
If left untreated, the rare disease (only 1 in 100,000 get it) can be deadly because of the risk of infection. As a doctor told ABC: "You are constantly making brain fluid. It can be fatal when there is a connection between the cleanest part of the body, the brain, and the dirtiest part, the nose."

Unrelated but still noteworthy: Did anyone else not know that the nose is the dirtiest part of the body?

Moving on.

Aragon, who is the mother of three young children, didn't question her doctors diagnosis of allergies at first but after weeks of walking around with paper towels stuffed up her nose, she grew concerned enough to go to a nearby urgent care center. There, both the nurse and doctor were shocked at her condition. "You should have seen [the doctor's] face, when he tried to be expressionless," she told ABC.

When the nurse asked her to fill a tube for a sample, a calm Aragon told her, "I can fill that tube up 20 times over." Ugh.

Once the diagnosis of leaky brain syndrome was confirmed, Aragon was sent to the University of Arizona for surgery. The process is usually barbaric ("We [would] retract the brain and pull in backward, taking out the frontal lobes and lift them out of the way and patch up the belly of the brain," said one of her doctors about the old procedure), but the University of Arizona has it down to a simple science. "Now, we go right through the nose — like going under the car to fix the carburetor," her doctor said. Yep, totally just like fixing a car.

Aragon is now doing fine, with a totally leakless brain. But she's not completely in the clear. According to her doctor: "She's not leaking anymore, but we have to make sure she doesn't spring a new leak," which is reassuring.
I forgot to take pictures today, but first up: spicy chickpea potato stew. The link has the original version, of course, but here's my tweaked recipe. This feeds about four people.

2 15-ounce cans chickpeas, rinsed, divided
3/4 cup water
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tin green chilis, drained and finely chopped
1 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp ground turmeric
1/2 tsp spicy curry powder
harissa to taste (I used about a teaspoon but I made my harissa with garden variety dried red chilis, which aren't super hot)
12 ounces tomatoes, seeded and coarsely chopped
3 yellow potatoes, cubed small
1/2 tsp salt and pepper to taste   
cayenne pepper to taste

Place 3/4 cup of the chickpeas and water in a blender or food processor and process until smooth. Set that aside.
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until sizzling. Add chopped onion, garlic and green chilis and saute until the onion is lightly browned on the edges. Stir in the cumin, harissa, curry powder, and turmeric before adding the tomatoes and the reserved chickpea puree. Bring that to a boil before adding the potatoes. When you do so, reduce the heat and simmer covered until the potatoes are nearly done, which takes about 20 minutes.
Stir in the remaining chickpeas. Cover and simmer until the potatoes are tender and the stew is heated through, which is about another 5 to 10 minutes. Season with salt, pepper, and cayenne.

The stew is very, very thick, reheats well, and is a very solid meal.
Aneristic Illusions / "We the People" Petitions to Secede
November 12, 2012, 06:16:46 PM
From Gawker
QuoteIn the aftermath of last week's presidential election, residents in at least nineteen states have put up petitions on the government's "We the People" petitioning website seeking the right to secede from the rest of the country.

While the petitions themselves may not be significant, the reaction could be.

Petitions for secession filed from Louisiana and Texas have already received well over 10,000 signatures. Per the website's own rules, petitions that garner 25,000 signatures or more within 30 days require a response from the Obama administration.

Similar petitions from Alabama, Tennessee, and, interestingly, Oregon, are also gaining traction, with each receiving thousands of supporters over the weekend alone.

Other states in which residents have expressed an interest in going their own way include Kentucky, Montana, North Dakota, Mississippi, North Carolina, Florida, Georgia, New York, New Jersey, Colorado, Arkansas, South Carolina, and Missouri.

As unilateral secession was ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court, it remains to be seen if this movement is more than a toothless temper tantrum thrown by armchair revolutionaries
:lulz: :lulz: South Carolina has two of these going around, which is hilarious (for non-Amerispags, SC was the first state to secede from the Union during the Civil War).
Oh hey.

Two members of the anti-Kremlin punk band Pussy Riot have been sent to remote prison camps to serve their sentences, the group has said.

Maria Alyokhina, 24, will serve the rest of her two-year term at a women's prison camp in Perm, a Siberian region notorious for hosting some of the Soviet Union's harshest camps. Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, 22, has been sent to Mordovia, a region that also hosts a high number of prisons.

"These are the harshest camps of all the possible choices," the band said via its Twitter account on Monday.

Alyokhina and Tolokonnikova were convicted of hooliganism motivated by religious hatred for performing an anti-Putin "punk anthem" in a Moscow cathedral in February. They argued that their conviction was part of a growing crackdown on free speech and political activism in Russia.

They are expected to serve the rest of their sentences, which end in March 2014, in the camps, where conditions are reportedly dire.

A third member, Yekaterina Samutsevich, was released earlier this month after being given a suspended sentence. Pussy Riot's supporters have argued that her release was designed to give the appearance of mercy from the authorities.

Confusion reigned on Monday as relatives and lawyers tried to assess exactly where the women were sent. Both Perm and Mordovia host several prison camps, some of which comprised the Soviet-era gulag system. Prison authorities declined to comment on the women's whereabouts.

Alyokhina and Tolokonnikova had petitioned to serve their sentences in Moscow, arguing that they wanted to be close to their children. Alyokhina has a five-year-old son named Filipp, while Tolokonnikova has a four-year-old daughter named Gera.
Two vast and trunkless legs of stone / The Junkyard Hag
October 20, 2012, 01:21:21 AM
Quote from: LMNO, PhD (life continues) on October 16, 2012, 08:18:36 PM
"Junkyard Seance"

You can find her in the junkyard. It doesn't matter which junkyard in which city, because she's in all of them. She's the Junkyard Hag, the final aspect of the Black Madonna of Tucson, and she'll talk to the spirits for you for a price. Sometimes she just asks for money, other times she asks for something absurd or dangerous (how the hell do you get tears from La Llorona when she hasn't got eyes?. The Hag wont accept bile, y'know), and sometimes the she'll tell you to call Miss Cleo.

But once you pay - if you can pay and she accepts your offering - she brings you to her table, which sits in the shadow of the tallest junkyard stack, and tells your fortune.
I hate being late. Hate hate hate hate it.

(Edited to add title after thread split - TGRR)

(Edited to add that the new title isn't meant to reflect on this particular post - TGRR)
Two vast and trunkless legs of stone / Egalitarianism
August 20, 2012, 12:12:52 AM
I thought I had more, but after some thought, it really boiled down one (possibly redundant why-are-you-asking-of-course-I-am!) question: I realize this isn't a Movement or a Cause, but as an idea, are you intending, on top of it being your individual behavior, to critique society?
At the end of the day, "yeah, we're all people and should be treated as such" is what I think. BUT I think that labels also have use.

- Humans like labels because they're short-hand ways of explaining yourself to yourself and to others. And you will inevitably pick them up and assign them to yourself no matter what. "Biped" is a label (a favored one around here, actually) and a perfectly good one at that.

- If someone tells me they're transsexual, I know to ask "what's your name, and which pronouns do you prefer?"

-- They quantify experiences and in order to accept people, you need to accept that they have had different experiences at the hands of society than you have (unless everyone you know is your clone). Which requires that you acknowledge their labels (because those are the ones that matter) because those labels help explain their stories. Saying NO LABELS LABELS ARE BAD is denying them a way to explain their lives, their experiences, their thoughts (no matter how retarded a set of thoughts is, you need to be able to explain it and labels make that easier).

-- If you want to be able to talk about a society, you need to have words to describe groups. "White men" = dominant group in Western society. "Women" = a subordinate group in most, if not all, modern societies, tasked with being the primary caregiver of children (whether or not you are actually fulfilling the expected roles or telling them to fuck off, it tells me what is expected of you and what sort of filters society probably outfitted you with).
--- They give you the ability to talk about power inequalities in a society. Cissexism (you are either a man or a woman and all other identities are unnatural) and racism require the dominant group and the subordinate group have names (in the case of race, specific cultures have sprung up around these as they have become identities). Otherwise you're groping around for an easy, concise way to explain elements of a concept, which isn't very good for a discussion necessarily

- Not teaching your kids about labels is not going to make an egalitarian society. They will assume (because kids are monkeys until you teach them otherwise) that everyone is like they are and that other forms of expression are badwrong (how do you think we got in this situation in the first place?). What you need to do (imo) is teach your kids that labels have their place and you should acknowledge them because they're ways people will tell you about themselves, but that these labels are not the be-all-end-all of who a person is, that people's labels and identity are perpetually in flux, and that you oughtn't judge them based on labels they have no control over (you don't get to pick what race, class, sex, or gender you were born into).

- I think quite a lot of this "ALL LABELS ARE BAD" thing is coming from positions of privilege. How often have you not had a word to explain yourself? Even if not all of you fits into the box that you were assign to, you have a box that explains at least some of your experiences. I can tell you that not having a word to explain vital parts of yourself is unsettling. I spent years trying to figure out why feminine pronouns are so fucking jarring (although less jarring than any others I have found). I kept poking at it and wondering if there was a word for it or how to explain it and then while reading up on gender, I found a word and it was like, "Oh! That's a pretty explanation!"

I don't think an egalitarian society can be labelless. I don't think it's even necessarily a desireable outcome because we need to be able to explain ourselves to ourselves and to others, and to do that we need labels for ideas and identities because no personal identity, no ways to explain yourself, sucks monstrously.
I just finished Body Wars: Making Peace with Women's Bodies, an Activist's Guide by Margo Maine[/url], which is both sad and very good, and touches everything from really fucked up adult body images, their affect on kids, gendered violence, and the way "body wars" (the way culture puts you at war with your own body in order to fit the 'standard') affect men, too, and how to change it all.

The book is from 2000 and culture has shifted some since then, I suspect it's mostly the same (although, let's be real, this book was published when I was eleven, so please correct me if I'm wrong).

I originally purchased Body Wars to check out the source of a pants-shittingly terrifying rape statistic (it made avoiding all men, forever and ever amen, sound like a really good idea). The source is a 1988 survey done by Ms. magazine and while I'd like to say things have changed (and in some ways I think they have. Maybe) the idea that there are some situations where the woman owes a man sex is still prevalent IME, and I don't think it's too far to say that there are a lot of men who would force it if they thought they were being denied their rightful poon.

The other parts I thought were valuable talked about body image specifically, especially the discussion of how poorly managed dieting (which is most of it) ends up fucking you up hardcore (a lot of the problems associated with being obese are also the same sort of issues shitty diets cause, and given the rate at which fat people in particular diet, there's definitely a link), how body wars affect men (I'd like PD dudes' thoughts here, particularly the older ones who've had the chance to watch the standard change), and how adults pass on their body concerns to their children. In particular, I found the way athletics sometimes body polices little girls ('"fat pig" awards given by coaches, group weigh ins, etc.) and the way the medical field is dealing with kids to be distressing (the book included one instance of a pediatrician who wanted to put an infant on a diet).
On Friday or Saturday next week. Anyone want to meet up?
Discordian Recipes / Super Streusteled Coffee Cake
July 10, 2012, 01:28:50 AM
Bottom layer of struesel:

    4 tbs softened butter
    2 tbs flour
    1 tbs brown sugar
    1/2 tsp cinnamon

Mix and spread on a butter-and-floured pan.

Quick Sour Cream Coffee Cake

    1 1/2 cups flour
    1  cup sugar
    2  teaspoons baking powder
    1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    1  cup sour cream
    2  eggs

    Preheat oven to 350.
    Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
    Combine sour cream and eggs. Beat well.
    Add the dry ingredients to the cream mixture. Beat just till smooth.

Put that shit in the pan on top of the first layer. Drop 2 tbs of sliced butter on top and add more struesel

    2  tablespoons flour
    2  tablespoons butter
    5  tablespoons sugar
    1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Stick it in the oven. Somewhere around the 40 minute mark, pull it out and put a cookie sheet with water in it in the oven and put the pan into that. It should be done ten-ish minutes after that.

'Cause I doubt the laws are going away anytime soon.

FFS. I'm pretty sure this was a flat out murder. The neighbors never got close and at least one of 'em (the visible one, who's the dude who died, I think) had his hands up.
Discordian Recipes / Naan
February 26, 2012, 11:04:48 PM
1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
1 cup warm water
1/4 cup white sugar
3 tablespoons milk
1 egg, beaten
2 teaspoons salt
4 1/2 cups bread flour
1/4 cup ghee

In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water and let it stand about 10 minutes, until it's frothy. Stir in the sugar, milk, egg, salt, and enough flour to make a soft dough and knead for 6 to 8 minutes on a lightly floured surface, or until smooth. Put the dough in a well oiled bowl, cover it with a damp cloth and set aside to rise for an hour, until the dough has doubled in volume.

Punch down the dough and if you want to add anything, now's the time (I like to add about two teaspoons garlic and an eyeballed amount of basil). Pinch off small handfuls of dough about the size of a golf ball, roll them into balls, and put them on a tray. Cover it with a towel and allow the dough balls to rise again for about half an hour, until they've doubled in size.

After the second rising, preheat a skillet to medium heat and oil it with ghee. Flatten each dough ball, brush it with more ghee and drop it on the skillet. When it gets fluffier, paint it with yet more ghee and flip it over. The way I tell if they're done is to mash them with my spatula. If the resistance is stiff all the way through, it's done. If you can feel a squishy part, wait a little longer.

QuoteWASHINGTON -- In a stunning break with First Amendment policy on Capitol Hill, House Republicans directed Capitol Hill police to detain a highly regarded documentary crew that was attempting to film a Wednesday hearing on a controversial natural gas procurement practice. Republicans also denied the entrance of a credentialed ABC News news team that was attempting to film the event.

Josh Fox, director of the Academy Award-nominated documentary "Gasland" was taken into custody by Capitol Hill police this morning, along with his crew, after Republicans objected to their presence, according to Democratic sources present at the hearing. The meeting of the House Subcommittee on Energy and Environment had been taking place in room 2318 of the Rayburn building. Rep. Brad Miller (D-N.C.), the ranking Democrat on the committee, is currently seeking to secure a procedural maneuver that would allow the detained film crew to re-enter the hearing, which is open to the public. Miller's motion is not expected to succeed.

Approximately 16 officers entered the hearing room and handcuffed Fox amid audible discussions of "disorderly conduct" charges, according to Democratic sources present at the arrest.

"Gasland" received strong critical acclaim and takes a critical eye toward the practice of hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," a process in which several tons of highly pressurized water and chemicals are injected into the ground, allowing valuable natural gas to escape. The practice is decried by ecological experts for destroying ecosystems and polluting groundwater. The energy industry keeps the actual content of fracking chemicals secret.

Fox had hoped to film Wednesday's hearing for a follow-up to "Gasland." A colleague of Fox's at his production company was unable to comment on the morning's events, but HuffPost expects a statement soon and will update this story accordingly.

Fox did not have formal Capitol Hill credentials, but such formalities are rarely enforced against high-profile journalists. Temporary passes are easy to obtain, and if Republicans had objected on procedural grounds, they could have simply sent the the crew to the front desk, rather than ordering police to arrest journalists. The right to a free press is protected by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Documentary crews are almost never denied access to public meetings of elected government officials.

A separate ABC News crew, which did have official Capitol Hill credentials, was also denied access to the public hearing.

UPDATE: 12:09 p.m. -- Capitol Police public information officer Seargant Kimberly Schneider provided the following statement to HuffPost on the morning's events:

"At approximately 10:30 a.m. today, United States Capitol Police arrested Joshua Fox of Mainville, Pa. in room 2318 of the Rayburn House office building. He is charged with unlawful entry, and he is currently being processed at United States Capitol Police headquarters."
Seriously? I really shouldn't be surprised. Really shouldn't. But I kind of am. The hearing was open to the public; even though they didn't have credentials, they are still part of the public. Am I missing something? Does a degree from a journalism school automatically mean you're treated differently in instances like this?
QuoteKABUL, Afghanistan — Several Taliban negotiators have begun meeting with American officials in Qatar, where they are discussing preliminary trust-building measures, including a possible prisoner transfer, several former Taliban officials said Saturday.
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Musadeq Sadeq/Associated Press

Marc Grossman, left, an American envoy, and the Afghan Deputy Foreign Minister Jawed Ludin.

    Talks With Taliban a Long Way Off, American Envoy Says (January 23, 2012)

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The former officials said that four to eight Taliban representatives had traveled to Qatar from Pakistan to set up a political office for the exiled Afghan insurgent group.

The comments suggested that the Taliban, who have not publicly said they would engage in peace talks to end the war in Afghanistan, were gearing up for preliminary discussions.

American officials would not deny that meetings had taken place, and the discussions seemed to have at least the tacit approval of Pakistan, which has thwarted previous efforts by the Taliban to engage in talks.

The Afghan government, which was initially angry that it had been left out, has accepted the talks in principle but is not directly involved, a potential snag in what could be a historic development.

The former Taliban officials, interviewed Saturday in Kabul, were careful not to call the discussions peace talks.

"Currently there are no peace talks going on," said Maulavi Qalamuddin, the former minister of vice and virtue for the Taliban who is now a member of the High Peace Council here. "The only thing is the negotiations over release of Taliban prisoners from Guantánamo, which is still under discussion between both sides in Qatar. We also want to strengthen the talks so we can create an environment of trust for further talks in the future."

The State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland has said only that Marc Grossman, the Obama administration's special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, had "a number of meetings" related to Afghanistan when he visited Qatar last week.

The Taliban's announcement this month that they would open an office in Qatar, which could allow for direct negotiations, drew fire from some Afghan factions as well as some American policy makers, who fear the insurgents would use negotiations as a ploy to gain legitimacy and then continue their efforts to reimpose an extremist Islamic state in Afghanistan.

Mr. Grossman, at a news conference in Kabul last week, said that real peace talks could begin only after the Taliban renounced international terrorism and agreed to support a peace process to end the armed conflict.

The Afghan government and the Qataris must also come to an agreement on the terms under which the Taliban will have an office. Mr. Grossman has been regularly briefing the Afghan government but Afghan officials have complained that they were being kept out of the loop.

The Taliban officials now in Doha, Qatar, include a former secretary to the Taliban's leader, Mullah Muhammad Omar, as well as several former officials of the Taliban government that ruled Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001, according to Mr. Qalamuddin and Arsala Rahmani, a former Taliban minister of higher education.

The former Taliban officials here described fairly advanced discussions in Qatar about the transfer of prisoners. One former official, Syed Muhammad Akbar Agha, who had been a Taliban military commander, said that five Taliban prisoners were to be transferred in two phases, two or three in one group and then the remainder.

There has also been discussion in Qatar of removing some Taliban members from NATO's "kill or capture" lists, the former Taliban officials said.

Mr. Grossman, in his comments last week, played down talk of detainee releases, saying the United States had not yet decided on the issue. "This is an issue of United States law first of all, that we have to meet the requirements of our law," he said.

He said the Obama administration would also consult with Congress. Under American law, the defense secretary must certify to Congress that the transfer of any Guantánamo prisoner to a foreign country would meet certain requirements, including that the country maintains control over its prisons and will not allow a transferred detainee to become a future threat to the United States.

If any detainees were released, Western and Afghan officials said, they would likely be transferred to Qatar and held there, perhaps under house arrest.

The former Taliban officials said that they were most surprised by Pakistan's decision to allow the Taliban delegates to obtain travel documents and board a plane to Qatar. The former officials have long contended that Pakistan has obstructed talks. "This is a green light from Pakistan," Mr. Rahmani said.

Pakistan "definitely supported this and is also helping," Mr. Qalamuddin added. He said that if Pakistan did not approve of the talks, it would have arrested the Taliban delegates to Qatar, just as it did with Mullah Baradar, a senior Taliban official, after he began secret talks with the Afghan government in 2010.
Aneristic Illusions / Tennessee Tea Baggers' Demands
January 22, 2012, 10:42:00 PM
Tea parties issue demands to Tennessee legislators
Hilarity abounds in their demands, but extra extra horrormirthy is their demands on text books and their attorney general:
NASHVILLE — Members of Tennessee tea parties presented state legislators with five priorities for action Wednesday, including "rejecting" the federal health reform act, establishing an elected "chief litigator" for the state and "educating students the truth about America."

About two dozen tea party activists held a news conference, then met with lawmakers individually to present their list of priorities and "demands" for the 2011 legislative session that opened Tuesday.

Regarding education, the material they distributed said, "Neglect and outright ill will have distorted the teaching of the history and character of the United States. We seek to compel the teaching of students in Tennessee the truth regarding the history of our nation and the nature of its government."

That would include, the documents say, that "the Constitution created a Republic, not a Democracy."

The material calls for lawmakers to amend state laws governing school curriculums, and for textbook selection criteria to say that "No portrayal of minority experience in the history which actually occurred shall obscure the experience or contributions of the Founding Fathers, or the majority of citizens, including those who reached positions of leadership."

Fayette County attorney Hal Rounds, the group's lead spokesman during the news conference, said the group wants to address "an awful lot of made-up criticism about, for instance, the founders intruding on the Indians or having slaves or being hypocrites in one way or another.

"The thing we need to focus on about the founders is that, given the social structure of their time, they were revolutionaries who brought liberty into a world where it hadn't existed, to everybody — not all equally instantly — and it was their progress that we need to look at," said Rounds, whose website identifies him as a Vietnam War veteran of the Air Force and FedEx retiree who became a lawyer in 1995.

In reference to their AG's disinterest in going after "Obamacare":
The group's printed material says the attorney general has reflected "views of the U.S. Constitution that conflict with those of the people of Tennessee."
:horrormirth: Didn't we try this already? I think we did. And it ended pretty badly for the people who tried that.
Discordian Recipes / Brownies OF GOD
December 28, 2011, 11:25:19 PM
This recipe comes from Death by Chocolate and has a stupid name, but I'm going to call them brownies of GOD because they totally are. Rich and fluffy and fudgey. :)
You do need a mixer with a balloon whip, by the way.

4 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup flour
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, broken into 1/2-ounce pieces
2 ounces semisweet chocolate, broken into 1/2-ounce pieces
3 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup sour cream

Butter and flour the pan, preheat the oven to 325*F.

Melt the chocolate and butter together (the original recipe calls for a double boiler, but I don't have one, and two minutes in the microwave works just fine), and stir 'till it's smooth.

Mix the eggs, sugar, and vanilla together with the mixer for about a minute and a half, until it's thickened a bit.

Add the chocolate and mix, add the dry ingredients and mix, and then put in the sour cream, all for about thirty seconds apiece.

Pour it in the pan - you'll want a spatula to get all of it out and then to even out the spread in the pan, because the batter is pretty stiff.

Bake for a full forty minutes (check if you have to at the thirty minute mark, but the brownies collapse really, really easily). When the knife comes out clean, it's done (even if you like fudgey brownies better than cake, make sure it's clean).


edited because I forgot the word "butter" D:
Literate Chaotic / Sunflowers
December 20, 2011, 02:42:04 AM
Um. It gets less silly later. This is not the complete story, since I'm still working out how exactly to end it. Suggestions welcome.

Max Lewis lived on Dulcy Street, which was connected to Drury Lane, Anne Road, and met its demise at the intersection with Green Gables Avenue. These were somewhat whimsical names for otherwise very boring streets in a very boring neighborhood. Every lawn was trimmed to golf course standards, there was an SUV in every driveway and all of them were washed on Sunday by aging, topless men while their kids played football in the street.

Max had an SUV, too, and he washed it on Sundays, just like every other man on his street, and his sons Jacob and Charlie played football in the street. Max's wife Sarah tended their yard on such mornings, which was bursting with sunflowers. He didn't care very much for sunflowers, but Sarah loved them and he loved her, so each spring dozens of stripy black and white seeds went into the ground. Max pawned the care of them off on his sons, who were assigned to weed and water them every day.

Every weekday morning, Max arose at six am to shuttle his boys to school before he headed to work at Sy Insurance, where he methodically shuffled paper from one end of his desk to the other and played solitaire on his computer for eight hours before going home. Sarah taught high school English on the other end of town, so she would often pick up some take out on her way home in the evenings while Max helped the boys with their homework.

One morning in April, Max found that the water cooler at the office wouldn't pour for him. The tank was full; in fact, it had been replaced yesterday, and the spout had poured just fine for Emma two minutes ago. He slapped the side of the cooler with an open palm, and a hollow glug echoed from somewhere inside the plastic as he peered at the spigot, wondering what was wrong with it. The tab that acted as a handle lifted by itself and waved. Max blinked. The tab had settled down again, as if nothing had happened.

He wasn't thirsty anymore.

After that, Max brought water bottles to work, which he filled at home from the refrigerator in his kitchen and he noticed several of his colleagues soon followed his example. Their boss was exasperated, asking them at meetings if he should take away the cooler because no one was using it anymore. Max played with his pen instead of saying anything. He was half convinced that he had hallucinated the waving tab, despite noting the increasing popularity of bottles brought from home.

The next thing to behave strangely was his mouse. The buttons began to wriggle under his fingers sometimes and the cord connecting it to the PC would twitch. Max had yanked his hand off the mouse with a gasp the first time, thankful for the walls of his cubicle for the first time ever. He gingerly unplugged it and coiled it up in the furthest corner of his desk, learning the keyboard shortcuts instead.

A few weeks rolled by and everything in the office behaved. Max thought he might have been imagining the wriggling buttons and waving water cooler tab. He plugged his mouse back in and stopped bringing water bottles from home, and no ill came of it.

It was a very nice morning in June when the weirdness started at home. Sarah wasn't teaching summer school this year and so she and the boys were still asleep. The house was quiet as the smell of brewing coffee wafted through the kitchen and he made himself breakfast. Scrambled eggs and toast with apple butter. He heard the paper arrive, the thump announcing its presence on his doorstep. Max turned off the stove and walked out of the kitchen to his foyer, and as he reached for the doorknob, the door opened on its own, the hinges creaking loudly over the sound of his bare feet on tile.

When he didn't move, the door began to close and shut with a click.

Max backed up quickly, not turning his back on the door until he was almost back to the kitchen again. Turning on the stove again, he tried to calm down, reaching almost mindlessly for his cup of coffee as he tried to come up with answers for the door. Maybe a breeze had closed the door.
Max didn't notice the sound of ceramic sliding across tile by itself as he grabbed his mug from the counter top.

That morning, he went out the back door and out the side gate to reach his car, walking through the stands of sunflowers.

"Max," a voice called. "Max!"

He looked around, expecting one of his neighbors, but found none. Only the tall yellow sunflowers, their faces heavy with seeds. They were almost as tall as he was now. Puzzled, he hoped he was imagining things.

"Max!" the voice pleaded. "Please!"

There was either something very wrong or he was crazy. He had his suspicions but he didn't want an answer. Max ignored the voice and walked through the last stand of broad-faced yellow flowers.
He found no peace at work or home that day, nor any day after that. It was little things. Eager-to-help staplers, a grouchy printer which refused to print the requested number of pages, and computer monitors that seemed to go to screen saver at will. At home, the refrigerator declined to vend ice and both Jacob and Charlie reported that it had bit them when they tried to reach into the ice box itself. Neither boy would go near the sunflowers and refused to explain why. Sarah wouldn't let them die, however, so she took over tending them, sometimes returning to the house white faced and wide eyed.

Jerikah, one of his office mates, made a half-hearted joke about the Brave Little Toaster, eyes averted from the office toaster in the kitchenette. Everyone tittered nervously, eying the chrome appliance as it slid across the counter top to the end of its cord, straining to reach the window. With a jerk, it pulled itself out of the socket and tumbled to the floor with a crash and a spray of crumbs.

Lawrence's voice reached school-boy pitches as he asked, "Please tell me you all saw that?" He sounded frantic and desperate. "I'm not going crazy, right? Please tell me you saw it move."

Jerikah nodded. "I saw it all right," she said. She didn't sound quite as bad he did, but close. There was a chorus of agreement, too, following her.

"Thank god," Lawrence said. "I thought it was just me."

Max continued to go in to work, solidly ignoring his increasing anxiety. But the day his desk up and left his cubicle was the last straw. As it lumbered through the hallway, he walked out.

He made a beeline for the car garage, opened his car door, and jammed his key into the ignition. The vehicle started smoothly, a soft rumble under the dashboard, and Max pulled out of his parking slot, making for the exit. One hand still on the wheel, he groped shakily for his parking pass, which was clipped to edge of the glove compartment. Max dropped it, and it tumbled under the seat and out of reach. Swearing loudly he reached for it, fingers searching the sticky floor for the slick feel of plastic.

He almost crashed his car into the median and gave up. He pulled over and got out, shoving back the seat to search for his pass. He found it lodged in the corner of the seat well, half covered by an empty chip bag. Retrieving it, he got back in and flashed the badge at the man who sat at the gate of the parking structure. As soon as the gate was up, Max floored the accelerator and zoomed out into the street.

Everything was moving now, almost as though it were planned this way. Blue mailboxes stalked hopping parking meters and stop lights flashed in a rhythmic fashion, repeated by every light he encountered; red, yellow, yellow, green, red, green. Street cameras spun erratically on the top of stop lights and street lamps danced, rocking their foundations, cement rupturing around the bottom of the poles. It was midmorning, so traffic was light and Max was grateful for that as he nervously navigated the streets. He didn't want to think about what it would have been like at rush hour.

As Max approached his suburb, things got worse. One legged flamingos flapped wildly on yards and lawn gnomes were brawling in the middle of the street. One was chasing a crying Stephen down Dulcy, wielding a long fishing pole. Max stopped his car and scooped Stephen up as he ran past. He slammed his car door shut just as the creature reached them and the gnome slashed at the side of the SUV with its pole. He jammed on the gas pedal again and then slammed on the breaks as his neighbor's three-foot high plaster deer leaped off her lawn and nimbly jumped over the courtyard walls of the house across the street, hanging onto the crying Stephen to prevent him from going through the front wind shield.

Max pulled up in front of his house and dropped Stephen off on his porch after ringing the bell and waiting just long enough to see the door beginning to open before he ran to his own yard. Stephen screamed once, but Max didn't hear it cut off over the chorus of voices that met him on the edge of his grass, the sound of his name echoing off the house across the street.

The nearest sunflower smiled at him, pearly white teeth gleaming in the sun from its eyeless face. "Are you going to water us, Max? Sarah's been neglecting this corner of the yard lately and we're thirsty."

Max stared at the plant in silence before bolting along the sidewalk towards the garage. Once in the dark and hot quiet of the room, he paused, ignoring the voices yelling for him outside. He flicked on the light, deciding he needed the lawn mower to take care of this. Everything was wrong, from the toaster at work to murderous lawn gnomes, but talking sunflowers were the beyond the limit.

A rustle echoed in the depths and a tinkle of breaking glass followed, emanating from the top of some boxes nearby. Wide-eyed, Max reached for the nearest thing at hand, Charlie's baseball bat, as the huge china cat Sarah's aunt had given them lunged at him from above with a yowl. With one wild swing, Max smashed the cat. The fractured head of the animal continued to howl as he backed out of the garage, stumbling over the mat at the door. He landed on his ass and the bat clattered at his feet.

He stared around him as the sunflowers called again, and Stephen's mother's plastic fairies and angels flitted through the flowers and his drooping willow tree.

A small voice drifted down to him. "They're awful thirsty, Max." He looked up to see a little purple fairy perched on the edge of his roof, staring at him worriedly. "You don't want the sunflowers to die, do you?"

"Yeah," called another voice, that of a pale angel riding a waving flower. "It's not fair to let them die, you know." He patted his steed and it smiled contentedly. "They can't help the way they are."

Max stood up slowly and reached for the bat. The angel and the fairy watched him closely as he walked to the house.

"Do you plan to water them or what?" the angel called again.

He was not about to answer a plaster angel. No way in hell. Still hefting his bat, he opened the door to his home and crept inside. Sarah's spider plant squeaked at him while the 3-D picture of the Last Supper Jacob was planning to sell waved at him silently from the frame.

The couch appeared to have moved several feet toward the TV and various other items were not where he had left them last. The house was eerily quiet, too. It was early August, and while Sarah was at school to prepare for the upcoming year, the kids were home. Or were supposed to be.

"Jacob, Charlie!" he called. "Boys, where are you?" Max made his way to the back of the house where their bedrooms were, in search of his children. A quick search of their rooms yielded nothing. Perplexed and beginning worry, Max returned to the living room and thought to look out back. Maybe they were hanging out on the back porch?

"Jacob! Charlie!" he called again as he opened the door that divided the kitchen from the rest of the house. "Where are you?"

A frantic banging came from the refrigerator and Max whipped around to face it. He dropped the bat on the counter and opened the double doors of the fridge and freezer.

Charlie fell out of the freezer and into his father's arms, his face scratched and bloody. He clutched at his father and started to sob incoherently. Max only caught Jacob's name and tried to calm the boy down.

"Shh, shh," he said. "It's all right, I'm here now." Max hadn't said these words to his son in over a decade and memories of Charlie's night terrors came forth. They had always involved small spaces and things scratching at him.

Charlie managed to gather himself together soon, and was able to stop sobbing. Max held him for just a minute longer before asking,

"Where's your brother?"

"He took off after the freezer tried to eat me," Charlie muttered. His eyes narrowed when spied the bat on the counter behind his father and shot up to grab it, pushing Max out of the way. With surprising viciousness for a boy usually so calm, he swung the bat into the face of the fridge. When the machine growled and spat ice at him, Charlie rammed the bat into the ice dispenser and destroyed it, ignoring the flood of water.

Max restrained his son when the boy went to open the door and finish the job. "Where is your brother?"

"I don't know!" he snapped, glaring at his father. "I was too busy fighting the freezer to see where he ran!"

"Come on, then. Let's find him," Max told him, pulling the bat from his son's hands. Having Charlie steadied Max; the boy needed to be looked after and to do that, he had to have a calm head. Max opened the back door and led the two of them out into the yard. They ignored the old swing set, which had pulled itself out of the ground and lumbered around the yard, before walking through the fence onto the neighbor's property. There was a metallic scream as it fell into the pool and the howl of frightened dogs.

There was no sign of Jacob at all, so they walked around to the front yard. A leg peeped out of a stand of sunflowers.
SOPA votes derailed by politician's 'offensive' tweet
A marathon debate today in the House of Representatives on the Stop Online Piracy Act wasn't derailed by procedural questions, even though not one hearing had been held on how the law would actually work.

It wasn't derailed by questions about SOPA's substance, even though legal scholars and technologists have said it could suppress free speech by virtually deleting Web sites accused of copyright infringement.

Instead, today's markup of SOPA in the House Judiciary committee was derailed by a snarky post on Twitter. (See CNET's FAQ on SOPA,/a>.)

The tweet in question came from Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), a pro-gun, anti-abortion conservative who wrote that: "We are debating the Stop Online Piracy Act and Shiela Jackson [sic] has so bored me that I'm killing time by surfing the Internet."

That would be Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, a Texas Democrat who's a notoriously combative member of Congress and was named the "meanest" by the Washingtonian magazine. She didn't take kindly to being called boring.

Jackson Lee objected. And the hearing ground to a sudden halt.

It was her use of the O-word--"offensive"--that interrupted the steady flow of amendments that critics were offering to SOPA, which were being merrily defeated one after another by the pro-SOPA majority on the committee.

It's inappropriate "to have a member of the Judiciary committee be so offensive," Jackson Lee said.

Unfortunately for audience members who might have appreciated the relative merits of a colloquy between Jackson Lee and her Twitter-ing interlocutor, King wasn't actually in the room by the time she discovered the alarming tweet.

Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner (R-Wisc.), the committee's previous chairman and an old parliamentary hand, leaped to his Republican colleague's defense, suggesting that the clerk delete the word "offensive" from the official record. Jackson Lee refused.

Rep. Lamar Smith, a SOPA-loving Texas Republican who's the chairman of the committee, renewed that request. He had apparently concluded that unlike "boring," her use of the word "offensive" violated House rules. (See CNET's profile of Smith.)

He asked Jackson Lee to formally withdraw her remark. She refused.

Smith tried again, saying that he was trying to "avoid making an official ruling" to the effect that Jackson Lee "impugned the integrity of a member of this committee." Would she "consider having just that one word stricken from the record?"

Jackson Lee again refused. She wanted King to "give the committee an apology."

But he wasn't there. And the important question of integrity-impugning had to be resolved. The committee members waited for the stenographer to read Jackson Lee's precise remarks back from the official transcript.

House rules, as you might imagine, provide procedures for how to deal with "disorderly words" and "unparliamentary language."

One option: "In many instances, the Chair will observe that debate is becoming personal and approaching a violation of the rules, in which case he may simply request that Members proceed in order."

But when a politico is in another building, or perhaps even in another city, and commenting through Twitter, that venerable option to promote civility (dating back to 1837) doesn't exactly work.

Jackson Lee consulted with the committee's parliamentarian. Everyone else waited.

Finally, the resolution: Jackson Lee relented. She wanted to have "just that one word stricken from the record."

Instead of King's tweet being "offensive," Jackson Lee concluded, she would merely deem it "impolitic and unkind."

King, by the way, has remained impenitent, and perhaps even amused. His last tweet says: "Judging from the many responses of my critics, they've never heard of multitasking and need to, in the words of Cain, get a sense of humor."

The committee resumed debate and a series of votes, typically by a margin of around 12 to 22, siding with the Motion Picture Association of America, the Recording Industry Association of America, and their allies. By the end of the day, SOPA remained entirely intact.
Screen shot of the tweet

I mean, we already largely knew Congress was occupied by people with the maturity level of grade schoolers, but there's nothin' like having it spelled out for you in black and white! (Mind you, I'm not pointing fingers at Jackson Lee, but pretty much everyone else)

Hilariously, Demand Progress is painting it as massive victory for the people.

More coming
 :lulz: :lulz: :horrormirth: FLORIDA'S AT IT AGAIN.
article rearranged slightly so the "pictured here" bit makes more sense than it did on Gawker Boing Boing
Fake plastic surgeon "enhanced" patient's butt with tire-sealant injection

QuoteA Florida man woman called Oneal Ron Morris has been arrested for performing dangerous cosmetic surgeries of his her own devising, injecting his her "patient" with a cocktail of tire-sealant, cement, and glue to "enhance" the patient's bum. The victim has developed an MRSA infection and pneumonia.

Pictured here, Ms Morris.

    “They agreed on the price of $700 for the procedure, which was intended for cosmetic purposes,” Bamford said.

    What the woman got for her money was a series of injections containing a bizarre concoction of cement, super glue, mineral oil and Fix-A-Flat tire inflator and sealant, police said.

QuoteBamford said that the procedure was conducted not in a clinic, but in a residential setting in Miami Gardens, and that shortly after the substance was injected into the woman’s body she developed what Bamford termed “severe complications.”
SQUID. SUU. What the hell is in the water in your state?

edited because I didn't realize I hadn't copied the strike throughs.
From Thinkprogress
By Ian Millhiser on Oct 18, 2011 at 10:24 am

The Roberts Court is rightly mocked for its seemingly single-minded willingness to immunize corporations from the laws intended to protect ordinary Americans, but the question presented in a corporate immunity case the justices just agreed to hear is so stark that a decision granting such immunity would verge on self-parody. Or, at least, it would if the consequences of such a decision wouldn’t be so tragic and far-reaching.

Indeed, as Judge Pierre Leval explains, if the Supreme Court upholds a Second Circuit decision holding that corporations have total immunity from a law holding the most atrocious human rights violators accountable to international norms, it would enable corporations to profit freely from some of the greatest acts of evil imaginable:

QuoteAccording to the rule my colleagues have created, one who earns profits by commercial exploitation of abuse of fundamental human rights can successfully shield those profits from victims’ claims for compensation simply by taking the precaution of conducting the heinous operation in the corporate form. Without any support in either the precedents or the scholarship of international law, the majority take the position that corporations, and other juridical entities, are not subject to international law, and for that reason such violators of fundamental human rights are free to retain any profits so earned without liability to their victims. [...]

    The new rule offers to unscrupulous businesses advantages of incorporation never before dreamed of. So long as they incorporate (or act in the form of a trust), businesses will now be free to trade in or exploit slaves, employ mercenary armies to do dirty work for despots, perform genocides or operate torture prisons for a despot’s political opponents, or engage in piracy – all without civil liability to victims. By adopting the corporate form, such an enterprise could have hired itself out to operate Nazi extermination camps or the torture chambers of Argentina’s dirty war, immune from civil liability to its victims. By protecting profits earned through abuse of fundamental human rights protected by international law, the rule my colleagues have created operates in opposition to the objective of international law to protect those rights

The centerpiece of this case, Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum, is a U.S. law known as the Alien Tort Statute which allows private parties to be sued for the very worst violations of international law. Nothing in this law distinguishes between violations by actual persons and violations by corporations — and indeed a footnote in a 2004 Supreme Court opinion strongly suggests that the opposite is true. Nor is there any international legal consensus granting lawsuit immunity to corporations. Rather, the Second Circuit’s majority seems to have invented a new corporate immunity doctrine out of whole cloth.

Moreover, lest there be any doubt, Judge Leval’s warning of the consequences of their decision is not hypothetical. Earlier this year, the DC Circuit parted ways with Leval’s colleagues — holding that corporations are not free to commit mass atrocities. Had the court gone the other way, it would have completed immunized Exxon from allegations that their agents committed shocking human rights violations while in Exxon’s employ:

QuoteIn addition to extrajudicial killings of some of the plaintiffs-appellants’ husbands as part of a “systematic campaign of extermination of the people of Aceh by [d]efendants’ [Indonesian] security forces,” the plaintiffs-appellants were “beaten, burned, shocked with cattle prods, kicked and subjected to other forms of brutality and cruelty” amounting to torture, as well as forcibly removed and detained for lengthy periods of time.

Now that the Supreme Court has agreed to consider this issue, Exxon gets another bite at the apple. If the Roberts Court rules their way, Exxon may be the first corporation to celebrate the birth of Leval’s nightmare scenario.
What the goddamn fuck!

"Very sorry that killing/enslaving you/your family/town/people was necessary, but the bottom line demanded it."
I have one google music invitation (sorry, Shoe Ears got first dibs). PM me your email if you want it.
he doesn't want to be tracked.  :lulz:

Quote"Mark Zuckerberg has decided to leave Google's new social network because he 'doesn't want to be tracked.' In other news, the Internet's irony meter has just exploded. Robert Scoble is now the most followed person on Google+ according to The Inquirer."
High Weirdness / Obese Man Found Fused to Chair Dies
March 31, 2011, 07:36:49 AM
from Gawker
QuoteAn obese man died after being found "fused to his chair" in his Bellaire, Ohio home, where he had sat in a recliner for two years. Police—called by his girlfriend—had remove him through a hole in the wall.

"Community reaction is intense," local CBS affiliate WTRF tells us. ("Vomit" counts as "intense reaction," as does "an unbelievable, existential sadness.") One officer called it "the worst thing he ever responded to," and another "threw away his soiled uniform after freeing the man."

Questions, obviously, remain: Was he actually fused to his chair? (Yes, according to WRTF, "with bedsores, maggots and excrement everywhere"; no, according to ABC affiliates which report that "the man's skin was stuck to the chair with urine and feces.") And: His girlfriend? (Yep: She "brought him food and soda pop.") And: Why didn't anyone do anything? (There is no law stopping adults from eating as much as they want or sitting in whichever chairs they want.) And: What was wrong? (No one seems to know, yet.) And also: Can I write a story about this guy for my MFA portfolio? (Yes, but please don't make him a metaphor for America, or capitalism, or whatever.)

(The house, by the way, is now being cleaned by seven people.)
:lulz: :vom:
Bring and Brag / Emoticon Presentation
December 06, 2010, 10:39:28 PM
Sister Fracture expressed interest in a project I was borrowing emoticons from PD for.

Here it is:

However, I didn't end up talking about PD at all. /tg/ got substituted instead. The quality is not that great because my laptop sucks enormously, but there it is. I hope I'm audible at least.
Even the Devil's got to pee, I suppose. [via Boing Boing]

QuotePanic broke out at the Moruga Composite School yesterday as 17 female students fell mysteriously ill and began rolling on the ground, hissing and blabbering in a strange tongue, after suffering bouts of nausea and headaches. Two of the students reportedly tried to throw themselves off a railing and had to be physically restrained, triggering fears of a possible demon attack. The drama started during the lunch hour in the Form One block and quickly spread to other areas. Form Five student Kern Mollineau, who attends the Lighthouse Tabernacle Church, said he got worried when the girls' eyes began rolling up in their heads and they began beating up on the ground.

With the assistance of several other students and teachers, the pupils were taken to the multi-purpose hall where some of them fell into a semi-conscious state. Mollineau recalled: "One girl was blabbering as if in a strange language. I could not understand what she was saying. "It was sounding like 'shebbaberbebeb shhhhee.' The girls were unusually strong. We had to hold them down so that they will not hurt themselves. "The teachers were right there. I get a kick in my face when one of the girls started beating up on the floor. Many of them had bruises." Mollineau claimed he actually communicated with the "devil which had possessed the girl. "I asked the Devil what he wanted with the girls and the voice said he wanted a life. He kept saying to send the girls in the toilet and to leave them alone," Mollineau claimed.

Roman Catholic priests, as well as pastors from nearby churches, including Josephine Charles, Deborah Charles and Pastor Gordon, visited the school and began showering the children with holy water and prayers. Two more students, Kriston Mollineau and Kishon Bethel, said they too were called by teachers to assist the ill girls. Kriston said the girls complained of headaches and some of them wanted to go to the toilet. Six ambulances arrived at the school accompanied by police teams from the Moruga and St Mary's Police Post. A party of fire officers from the Princes Town Fire Station, led by acting Assistant Divisional Fire Officer Ramdeo Boodoo visited the school and began conducting several tests on the surroundings to determine the cause of the problem.

Boodoo said there was nothing in the environment to trigger fainting spells, nausea and headaches. A teacher, who requested anonymity, said two weeks ago an Orisha woman came to the school and had a dispute with a member of staff. He said following the dispute, the woman threatened to deal with the school administration. Another teacher said the school was built on a burial site, but neighbours who live around the school denied that was so. A source at the school confirmed that all 17 pupils were taken to the Princes Town Health Facility where they were medically examined. The other students were sent home at 2 pm.

Responding yesterday, Minister in the Ministry of Education Clifton de Coteau said he was aware that pupils had to be taken for medical attention. De Coteau said Student Support Service officials were sent to the school and students were expected to receive counselling. A statement from the Ministry of Education said the Public Transport Service Corporation (PTSC) made maxi taxis available to the school to assist the Office for Disaster Preparedness and Management (ODPM) which provided additional ambulances.

edited for thread title
Aneristic Illusions / This is Going to be an Adventure...
November 11, 2010, 05:33:23 AM
QuoteRemember Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX), the guy who at the height of the spill apologized to BP on behalf of America for the "tragedy" of the $20 billion clean up fund put together by the White House? Meet your next chairman of the Energy Committee.
:argh!: :horrormirth:

Ron Paul may oversee Fed
QuoteRep. Ron Paul (R., Texas), who wants to abolish the Federal Reserve, could end up overseeing it as part of the Republican takeover of the House of Representatives.

Paul is the ranking member of the Subcommittee on Domestic Monetary Policy and Technology on the House Financial Services Committee, which has oversight for the Fed, the U.S. Mint and U.S. interaction with the World Bank, Politico reported.

The Republican leadership will make the final call on whether Paul gets to oversee the Fed, which, in addition to setting monetary policy, now has a more important role in overseeing big financial institutions including traditional banks like Bank of America (BAC), Citigroup (C) and Wells Fargo (WFC), and other systemically important institutions like Goldman Sachs (GS), American International Group (AIG) and General Electric (GE)'s financial unit.

Paul got some traction recently with legislation proposing to audit the notoriously secretive Fed. He also wants to re-establish the gold standard.

QuoteSarah Palin was in Phoenix for a Tea Party rally on Friday, where she had the wonderful opportunity to meet Maricopa County's legally questionable, self-promoting celebrity sheriff, Joe Arpaio. And apparently he gave her pink underwear.

Arpaio, who's currently being sued by the federal government for not cooperating with one of the various civil rights investigations into his sheriff practices (racial profiling, tent cities, etc.), typed this braggart's message on Twitter after their meeting:

The Twitpic link, sadly, just leads to the top picture of him within several feet of the Alaskan snowbilly. (And the pink underwear we added is not the pair he gave her.) But he probably did do it. One of Sheriff Joe's hilarious means of degrading his prisoners is to make them wear all pink, including pink underwear, because then they look gay or something.

I bet Todd was pleased that a strange man gave his wife underwear.
Because not all of them are quite deserving of their own Sarah Palin/Christine O'Donnell-esque thread. Plus this one's just kind of sad.
Quote from: Gawker
Candidates: Please include a notecard of recent Supreme Court decisions in your debate notes? Because when you're asked, as congressional candidate Jon Runyan was yesterday, which decision of the last 10-15 years you disagree with, 1857's Dred Scott won't fly.

Runyan, a former Philadelphia Eagles football player who just retired last year, is running as a Republican in a New Jersey district represented by freshman Democrat John Adler. The candidates were able to ask each other questions, and Adler had a winner. Via the Asbury Park Press:

"Jon, it's a different branch of government, but can you give me an example from the last 10 or 15 years of a Supreme Court decision in which you strongly disagree?" Adler asked.

"That I strongly disagree with?" Runyan asked, pausing for a moment to consider the question. "Dred Scott."

There was some laughter in the audience.

"I said 10 or 15 years. . . . Dred Scott was the 1850s," Adler said, referring to the 1857 decision in which the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed the practice of slavery. Runyan did not answer the question.

The video is pretty painful. There is more than "some laughter," and Runyan kind of looks around with a "What's so funny?" expression. On the other hand, at least he thinks Dred Scott was a bad decision.

edited for spelling fail
QuoteWas it just a toy pony or a Trojan horse?

A "suspicious" toy pony was blown up after it was found abandoned in the middle of a cul-de-sac near an Orange County elementary school yesterday morning, reports the Orlando Sentinel.

The FurReal pony, an expensive, lifelike toy, was investigated as a possible explosive device after someone called Orange County deputies to report it. A robot inspected the toy before a pack of explosives was placed near the stuffed animal and detonated.

Students at nearby Waterbridge Elementary School were placed on a modified lockdown in which no one was allowed in or out of the building during the investigation. The lockdown was lifted after the pony was blown up.

Orange County Sheriff's spokesman Jeff Williamson said the pony was later declared "non-threatening."

Parent Shanie Lucas, who uses the area to pick up and drop off her 9-year-old daughter, Valerie, thought the whole incident was funny.

Lucas saw the pony this morning around 8:30 when she dropped Valerie off at school and thought someone put it there to deter people from double-parking inside the small circle.

But when Lucas received an automated call from her daughter's school about the lockdown, she got nervous. She scoured the Internet looking for information and realized it was the same pony she saw earlier in the morning.
No one was hurt.

Discordian Recipes / Ginger Ale
September 05, 2010, 02:39:24 AM
2 tablespoons of grated ginger
1 cup white sugar
1 whole lemon
1/8 teaspoon or even less of yeast
A half gallon of filtered water

1. With a funnel, pour sugar and yeast into the bottle.
(boring, so no picture)

2. Finely grate the ginger and place in a measuring cup.

3. Squeeze the lemon's juice into the measuring cup and mix with the ginger.

4. Pour the mixture through the funnel into the bottle. Use a straw to push the pulp into the bottle and pour the water in. Put cap on and shake until sugar is dissolved. Set the bottle in a warm (not hot) place for 24 hours.

It's currently sitting my garage, and I'll know it's any good by 5pm tomorrow. I used regular baking yeast, which I have heard mixed results on. If it's not good, I'll spend the extra dough on beer yeast, I suppose.
High Weirdness / Whiskey from diabetics' urine
September 04, 2010, 09:41:41 PM
Gilpin Family whisky is a new single malt whisky made from the urine of diabetics. Creator James Gilpin doesn't sell the stuff, but rather gives away bottles as a public health statement. From the product page:
QuoteSugar heavy urine excreted by diabetic patients is now being utilized for the fermentation of high-end single malt whisky for export. The Whisky market is growing faster then any other alcoholic beverage worldwide. With a prevalent genetic weakness being exposed in the northern hemisphere leading to a sharp rise in type two diabetes, economists have found a new exportable commodity to exploit and are keen to capitalize on this resource quickly.

Large amounts of sugar are excreted on a daily basis by type-two diabetic patients especially amongst the upper end of our aging population. As a result of this diabetic patients toilets often have unusual scale build up in the basin due and rapid mould growths as the sugar put into the system acts as nutrients for mould and bacteria growth. Is it plausible to suggest that we start utilizing our water purification systems in order to harvest the biological resources that our elderly already process in abundance?
I have to add this - if you're planning to add running to your routine, make sure you're doing it right and I'm sure I'm not the only one who wasn't doing it right. There really is right way and a wrong one and the wrong one will give you shin splints which are a bitch. If you keep going with shin splints, you can pull the muscle out of the bone, or so a doctor told me.
Doing it the right way makes running easier, more effective, and less awful. Personally, I'm getting to the point where I enjoy it and I used to do anything I possibly could to get out of it.
This is fucking ridiculous.

Police officer Joseph Uhler was caught on film charging out of his unmarked car and waving his gun at a unarmed motorcyclist pulled over for speeding. When the footage was uploaded to YouTube, authorities raided Anthony Graber's home, siezed his computers, arrested him, and charged him with "wiretapping" offenses that could land him in jail for 16 years. Glyn  writes in:
QuoteThe ACLU of Maryland is defending Anthony Graber, who potentially faces 16 years in prison if found guilty of violating state wiretap laws because he recorded video of an officer drawing a gun during a traffic stop. The ACLU attorney handling the case says, "To charge Graber with violating the law, you would have to conclude that a police officer on a public road, wearing a badge and a uniform, performing his official duty, pulling someone over, somehow has a right to privacy when it comes to the conversation he has with the motorist."
Indeed, Maryland contends that Uhler had a reasonable expectation of privacy while waving his gun around in public and yelling at a motorist with a giant video camera mounted on the top of his helmet.

Remarkably, the state Attorney General has already opined that when police record in public, that is not a private conversation subject to the same laws. In other words, in any public interaction between a police officer and a member of the public in Maryland, it is private for one of them but not the other.

"We have looked, and have not been able to find a single court anywhere in the country that has found an expectation of privacy for an officer in such circumstances," writes the ACLU
Sixteen Years in Prison for Videotaping the Police?
There's an extensive history of this being used in Los Angles in the 60s and 70s (if I'm remembering the dates right). The black community there would keep track of arrests that were obviously done with the intent of showing them who was in charge of LA. Bystanders would write down the circumstances, the name of the arrestee, the arresting officer or officers' badge numbers, and any instances of them "resisting arrest" or "attacking officers."

The motorcyclist was unarmed - what the fuck does a cop need to pull a gun out for in an instance like that? In any case, Anthony Graber was doing something that's been done for decades, albeit on the other side of the country and with a camera instead of a notepad. A police officer is in the service of his city and while he is doing such, he is most certainly not a private person.
Aneristic Illusions / Internet 1, Viacom 0 - so far
June 24, 2010, 11:36:03 PM

Google's won the first round of the enormous lawsuit Viacom brought against it. Viacom is suing Google for $1 billion for not having copyright lawyers inspect all the videos that get uploaded to YouTube before they're made live (they're also asking that Google eliminate private videos because these movies -- often of personal moments in YouTubers' lives -- can't be inspected by Viacom's copyright enforcers).

The lawsuit has been a circus. Filings in the case reveal that Viacom paid dozens of marketing companies to clandestinely upload its videos to YouTube (sometimes "roughing them up" to make them look like pirate-chic leaks). Viacom uploaded so much of its content to YouTube that it actually lost track of which videos were "really" pirated, and which ones it had put there, and sent legal threats to Google over videos it had placed itself.

Other filings reveal profanity-laced email exchanges between different Viacom execs debating who will get to run YouTube when Viacom destroys it with lawsuits, and execs who express their desire to sue YouTube because they can't afford to buy the company and can't replicate its success on their own.

On Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Louis Stanton ruled that YouTube was protected from liability for copyright infringement by the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). The DMCA has a "safe harbor" provision that exempts service providers from copyright liability if they expeditiously remove material on notice that it is infringing. Viacom's unique interpretation of this statute held that online service providers should review all material before it went live. If they're right, you can kiss every message-board, Twitter-feed, photo-hosting service, and blogging platform goodbye -- even if it was worth someone's time to pay a lawyer $500/hour to look at Twitter and approve tweets before they went live, there just aren't enough lawyers in the universe to scratch the surface of these surfaces. For example, YouTube alone gets over 29 hours' worth of video per minute.

Viacom has vowed to appeal.
QuoteIn dismissing the lawsuit before a trial, Stanton noted that Viacom had spent several months accumulating about 100,000 videos violating its copyright and then sent a mass takedown notice on Feb. 2, 2007. By the next business day, Stanton said, YouTube had removed virtually all of them.

Stanton said there's no dispute that "when YouTube was given the (takedown) notices, it removed the material."

Calling Stanton's reasoning "fundamentally flawed," Viacom said it was looking forward to challenging the decision in appeals court.
I am astounded they thought this could even work if they won. Too much runs on the internet, too much depends on it, and Viacom thinks it can shut down what the world made? The arrogance is astounding, if perhaps unsurprising.
Discordian Recipes / Cold Brew Coffee
June 15, 2010, 08:09:28 PM
This stuff is perfect for summer, tastes a little different than hot coffee, and is up to 70% less acidic. It's also absurdly easy to make, though lots of people feel the need to use some sort of special gadget to make it (though a regular french press, if you have it, makes it even easier).

Coarsely ground coffee
Cold water
Bowl/jar/French press
A fine sieve or paper filter if you haven't got a press

There are two ways to make it, depending on when you mean to drink it.

An immediate, single serving:
Put spoonful of coffee in a cup or bowl and add an equal amount of water to it that you would pour into your coffee cup in the morning (so half a mug of coffee becomes half a mug of water in your bowl/cup). Leave it to sit for about ten minutes, strain into your cup with either a fine sieve or a paper filter, and fix it to your liking.
If you have a French press, just use cold water instead of hot.

A concentrate (used for several mornings or for more than one person):
Put one cup coffee grounds to four cups water in a bowl or jar and stick it in the fridge overnight. In the morning, strain it into a pitcher and dilute it with cold water before you drink it (unless you like very strong coffee).
Discordian Recipes / Snickerdoodles
June 13, 2010, 11:49:24 PM
This recipe is probably the best one I've ever had.

1 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups white sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons white sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
2. Cream together butter, 1 1/2 cups sugar, the eggs and the vanilla. Blend in the flour, cream of tartar, soda and salt. Shape dough by rounded spoonfuls into balls.
3. Mix the 2 tablespoons sugar and the cinnamon. Roll balls of dough in mixture. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets.
4. Bake 8 to 10 minutes, or until set but not too hard. Remove immediately from baking sheets.

The original recipe calls for shortening, which I don't like so I substituted more butter instead. I've seen other recipes that call for sticking the dough in the fridge for a while before you roll and dip them, which I did with about a third of these. They didn't expand at all, which I didn't like. The rest of them weren't refrigerated before I rolled them, so they flattened out while baking. I like them better that way and they have a better texture, too, imo. The cookies stay soft and light for about three days if you stick them in a ziplock baggie when they're still warm as well.
Via Boing Boing
QuoteA Dutch court has ruled that disclosing the general location of files that infringe copyright is the same thing as infringing copyright itself. The website FTD has a forum where users discuss which Usenet newsgroups contain infringing movies. They do this in plain language, the Dutch equivalent of, "Hey, the group $FOO has the movie $BAR in it." The discussions don't include links. The Dutch court has ruled that hosting a discussion that includes conversational descriptions of infringing files is the same as publishing links to those files is the same as hosting the files yourself. This is a major overturning of Dutch jurisprudence, and a disaster for free speech; the potential chilling effect for anyone who might host a forum or comment section is enormous.

Tomorrow is the Dutch election. The Dutch Pirate Party is campaigning on this issue: "When reaching landmark decisions that overturn years of jurisprudence, neither the judge nor the issue is served when it turns out that the judge in question is in business with the copyright-lawyer from the party benefiting from this shocking verdict. The fact that this joint enterprise mainly offers courses on 'counter-piracy' at €900 per day, makes the situation appear even muddier still. If the Netherlands wants to avoid looking like a banana-republic where the law is for sale to the highest bidder, it is urgent that parliament takes control of the debate on copyright-reform, and brings it back into the public arena where this discussion belongs."

What the hell?

eta link
...but I thought the sheer WTF IS THAT?! would be appreciated.